Prophetically, this web site has been warning about the dangers of fracking since 2010.
But widespread fracking (pumping water into cracks in the rock to force out shale gas) in the UK is now inevitable unless a massive Occupy-style campaign springs up to prevent it. Opponents say that fracking can cause earthquakes and damage homes, but the real fear is that it provides a cover for more energy consumption and lets the energy business ride roughshod over rural areas.
There is a small chance that mass opposition will emerge, but even then opponents of fracking will almost certainly lose the argument because the forces lined up in its support are far too powerful. They include most politicians, energy companies, the entire financial sector and most industry, plus everyone who puts their “right” to consume endless, cheap electricity before the interests of society or the environment.
The leading advocate of fracking is Lord Browne who presided over a shockingly bad safety record at BP as short cuts were taken to reduce costs. He was forced out after lying about entertaining his gay lover on company expenses.
The single most important thing about frackjng is not that it will bring cheaper energy to UK homes and industry. The reason a huge fracking industry is inevitable is that it will probably double the growth rate in the UK economy over the next two decades – and become the vital ingredient used to pay off the nation’s debts caused by the banking crisis.
Bankers rescue plan
Part of the allure will be cheaper energy prices, as long as the government forces the energy companies to pass on the savings to consumers and industry. Part of the benefit will be in reduced imports and there will also be increased employment in the fracking business itself, especially the building of drilling rigs.
The Government has made a start that will have pleased Energy company bosses. It is supporting an industry initiative to bribe local communities into compliance – Energy companies will pay up to £100,000 cash for community projects to the locals at every fracking site – as well as providing them with cheaper energy than those who do not live near a fracking site.
Energy minister, Michael Fallon, said it would be irresponsible not to use a resource that has transformed the US and could provide energy security, if not guarantee cheap prices, for Britain. He promised favourable tax treatment similar to the kind that had built up the North Sea oil industry and said there would be planning – and safety – regulations to match.
Ed Davey, secretary for energy and climate change, said the new regime would help ease customer energy bills and save households pounds 5bn by 2030 by reducing the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuel energy, which has reached a record high according to figures released this week.
So the net result in the UK will be that energy users will be encouraged to increase their consumption, the energy shortage will have been delayed a couple of decades….. and life can go on as before – until the next economic or ecological crisis.
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